Mourners gathered to remember the life of a councillor described as dedicated to his family and the community he served.
Colleagues from all sides of the council chamber joined family and friends of Coun Tony Lee for his funeral at Holy Trinity Church on Dean Street, South Shore, yesterday.
Poignantly, the service was held at the same church Coun Lee was christened in.
He died on July 20, aged 71, in Trinity Hospice after falling ill on holiday.
The father-of-four had represented Waterloo ward on Blackpool Council for the Conservatives since 2007 and served as deputy mayor in 2010/11.
Suzanne Pinkett, who addressed the congregation on behalf of Coun Lee’s widow Eileen, recalled how he had had trials for Burnley Football Club as a young man, before enjoying a successful amateur cricket career, playing for Lewis’s and National Travel when he worked for them.
Later on the couple ran two retirement homes together.
She said: “He had a genuine delight in being with people whatever their age and rank and would go out of his way to do them a good turn if he could.”
Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on Blackpool Council, led tributes from Coun Lee’s town hall colleagues.
He said: “With Tony there were no negatives. It was all do-able, and in a very upbeat manner.
“He gave his heart and soul to the ward and touched so many people’s lives in Waterloo ward, and it is so much better for him doing so.”
Former councillor and close friend Ian Fowler said one of Coun Lee’s proudest moments had been when he was appointed Deputy Mayor.
He added: “You always knew when Tony was in the room, his laugh gave him away.
“But a more genuine man you could not wish to meet. If you asked for his help you would get it, with nothing expected in return.”
Coun Lee, who had four children and four grandchildren, died after being diagnosed with cancer during a holiday in France.
Along with fellow Waterloo ward councillor David O’Hara, he had been involved in recent projects including improving South Shore railway station and trying to boost trade in the shopping area.